I’ve dropped a lot of hints that things are changing in my life, and I’ve wrestled a lot with how and when to make this announcement online. In the end, the best way is to just come out and say it.
(OK, deep breath…)
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m pregnant, due February 3rd.
We found out at the end of May, soon after Dan landed his job, while I was still wrapping up finals at my last teaching job. Friends and family have known for a while, but we’ve decided to forego the big “Facebook announcement.” It seems like such a personal thing to publicly announce to hundreds of people, most of whom I never speak to in real life. And yes, I see the irony of saying that on my blog, but I kind of have to announce it here. After all, I write about my life, and this changes everything. Plus, you’ve made an investment in my life just by spending time on this blog. In my mind, that’s more significant than just clicking “like” on a Facebook post. (So if you are Facebook friends with me, can we keep this news off there a little longer, please? Thanks!)
It’s crazy to wrap my mind around how fast the pieces of our lives have changed permanently in the last few months. It’s been a good whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless. A new job for Dan, a new home, new community, new car, and a baby on the way – all within a matter of months. I’m just now starting to really process it all. I’m excited for it. This is what we were working towards, after all. The opportunity to settle down, make a home for ourselves, build some stability, and start a family. I just didn’t expect that to all happen at once!
I’m in my second trimester now, officially 18 weeks along. We’ll find out if we’re having a boy or a girl near the end of September. I can feel little flutters moving around, but nothing as definite as “kicking” yet.
18 weeks. Yeah, I know. It’s taken me a long time to put it on the blog. But I generally blog about being a teacher, and as excited as I am to become a mom, reconciling that with my career has been a big mental challenge for me. It’s been especially hard because there have been times (probably exacerbated by hormones) when I felt like I was forced out of full-time teaching. I never chose to quit working and stay home with the baby. It wasn’t something I decided. Circumstances forced me into it. It sounds bad saying it that way, because the honest truth is that I have no idea what I would have chosen, given the opportunity. But still, it should have been my choice to make, right?
Last May, I sat in my principal’s office after he’d explained that he’d hired someone else, tears streaming down my face in gut-wrenching disappointment, and he asked me if Dan and I had plans for a family. I told him what I then knew to be true – it was something we wanted someday, but we didn’t claim to know God’s plan beyond that. The surprise of a positive pregnancy test came just a few weeks later, during my final days in that job.
I wish my boss had never asked me that question. I wish I couldn’t associate the timing of this pregnancy with his letting me go. It only added to my bitterness and frustration at what happened, because while I’m sure he had other reasons for choosing someone else, I can’t help but wonder if, subconsciously, the possibility of my getting pregnant played into his decision. I’ve never told him or anyone else at that school that I really am pregnant, but if he knew, I’m sure he’d somehow feel justified in letting me go. “See?” he’d say, “it all worked out!” Except that the decision to quit working wasn’t his choice to make for me, and whatever his reasoning, he took that choice out of my hands. Honestly, if I’d still been there, still teaching in my dream job, how could I possibly give that up permanently? It wasn’t just a job – it was my passion, my inspiration, my joy. Yes, I would have taken maternity leave. Yes, I’d have to split my attention more than before, but I probably would have stayed. I loved it that much.
I spent the summer pregnant and job hunting. The pregnancy reinforced our decision that I should find the right job and avoid the options that were clearly the wrong fit. The one lead I had would have given me a long commute into a demographic that stresses me out. The thought of doing that while pregnant, and then with a newborn, made me panicky and frustrated just thinking about it, so I didn’t pursue it. I never stopped looking for something else, but I knew in my gut that no one would hire me anyway. It’s a tough job market, with many good teachers looking for work. If it came down to me and someone else equally qualified, of course they’d choose the not-pregnant candidate! Granted, this turned out to be a non-issue, since I didn’t even get any interviews, but still.
I’ll sub until the baby is born, but I’ll have to stop after that. Subbing is all last-minute phone calls and unpredictable schedules. Even if I thought I could handle that on the inevitable lack of sleep and feeding schedules and whatnot, I’d be hard-pressed to find good childcare that could accommodate that kind of situation. So come February, I’ll officially be a stay-at-home-mom.
I know I haven’t been fair in my thinking towards my old boss, but since he also never gave me any other explainable reasons for letting me go, I’ve got nothing else to go on. I can theorize about what connections the other teacher may have had, or what additional work she could do that I can’t, but that’s all it is. Theories, speculation, no real answers, and that has made it easy to think the worst about his motivations. I’m not proud of my reactions, which is why it’s taken me months to explain them here.
Here’s what I’ve come to recognize, though, why I finally can write about this. I was so blessed to be at that school for the five months I was given. I am thankful for the time I had with those kids, teaching that content, and seeing the possibilities of a passion realized. How many people get to say they’ve seen their dreams realized that clearly at all, even for just a short amount of time? Having it taken away doesn’t change that it happened, and it was amazing. Having my passion put on hold shouldn’t take away from the good I got out of being there. And somehow, someway, I have to believe that God will finish what He started in that part of my life, just like He’s been faithful in every other area so far. Over the years He was guiding me towards something, building a focus and a dream in me, and I can’t believe that’s all over now. I have to believe that someday down the road, the skills I’ve built and the passions I’ve developed for teaching will come to fruition. My turn is still coming. It’s just farther down the road than I’d thought, out of sight for now.
I love my career, but I know I will love my son or daughter more. Becoming a mom is amazing, and I can’t wait to see where this road leads. My focus now is the child growing inside me, and any other children we may have in the future. Through them, I will always be teaching. I’m excited to watch my baby grow into a young man or woman, to see how the world will be changed by their existence.
But once again, I can’t plan my life more than a year in advance. I know that this year, I’ll be subbing until the baby is born in February, and then I’ll be staying home for the rest of the year. After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll stay at home for years as we have more children and only return to the workforce someday down the road. Or maybe the right job will come along for the next school year, and I’ll jump right back into it. I have no idea, and for now, I’ve decided I’m OK with that.